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AGRICULTURE

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					AGRICULTURE

INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS

         In the County, [of Hawaii] approximately [47%] 1,184,599 acres or 46 per cent of the
total land area [(1,185,816 acres)] is situated within the State Land Use Agricultural district.
Included in the district are lands with a high capacity or potential for agricultural use as well as
those with very low potential for productive agricultural activity. [Approximately 27% of the
total acreage of the County (686,000 acres) are presently being used for agriculture.]

        [The structure of commercial] Commercial agriculture in Hawaii County [is in a state of
transition. While commercial agriculture] was once dominated by sugar and ranching. [Trends
indicate that a larger number of small] With the demise of sugar in the mid-1990s and
reduced production volumes within the ranching industry since the mid-1980s, independent
farmers producing a wide variety of commodities [will play an increasingly important role in the
future.] have played an increasing role in the continued growth of the agriculture industry.
At the same time, trends also indicate increasing efficiencies of operations resulting in overall
reductions in land requirements.

         [As the prospects for sugar have declined and the acreages cultivated reduced, the large]
Large corporations and mid-size and small entrepreneurs have led the way in examining
alternative uses for former sugar land. Papaya, macadamia nuts, guava, exotic tropical fruits,
forestry and ginger are some of the commodities [which] that have been given a boost by the
research and marketing efforts undertaken [by these corporations. Although large corporations
initially investigated new commodities, in numerous instances smaller farmers have provided
innovative and efficient approaches to realize their potential].

        While additional opportunities to develop new commodities may [be expected to] arise,
the realization of these opportunities requires the cooperative effort of the large corporations,
entrepreneurs, the small independent farmers and government. Large corporations can assist in
the supply of land, water, marketing, and capital; the entrepreneurs and small independent
farmer can supply the human resources of imagination, determination and hard work; and
government can provide an environment that supports their efforts.

        In addition to the agricultural land uses relating to the growing of the products,
agricultural land uses also [includes] include those relating to the packing, processing and
manufacturing of the products, [which] that may be more industrial in character, but are
nevertheless agricultural. The [diversified] agricultural industry may also need a variety of such
industrial type uses [which] that are dependent upon the specific processing requirements of the
product.

        In light of the changes faced by commercial agriculture, the land use regulatory system
must be examined to determine [what] the adjustments [will be] required to allow the
agricultural industry to make the change. In agriculturally designated areas, both the State and
County have established goals, objectives and policies [which] that reflect a desire to promote
agricultural activities as well as preserve and protect agricultural land.


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       [Significant changes to the State Land Use Law have been proposed since its adoption.
These changes could streamline the state's land use regulatory system for controlling land use,
and change the County's role in the land use regulatory system.

        The changes to the land use regulatory system are due, in part, to changes to the
socio-economic conditions of the State.] The County and State governments continue to
explore possible changes to their respective land use regulatory system in response to the
continuous changes occurring within the State’s socio-economic climate. As agriculture's
contribution to the State's economy since the days of sugar has declined, there has been a
concurrent rise by tourism as the State's major source of income. The [decline] demise of the
sugar industry on this island has resulted in thousands of acres of land being removed from
productive agricultural use. At the same time, growth in [tourism] the island’s population has
contributed towards increasing [both population and] land costs.

        Agricultural land values have risen beyond their value for agricultural purposes. The
high cost of agricultural land reflects non-agricultural uses and values rather than the value that
may be attributed to land if it were used as a resource for food and fiber production. Although
there are many legitimate reasons for allowing zoning and use conversions of agricultural land,
the increasing land values is one of the major problems that needs to be addressed to facilitate
the expansion of agriculture.

        One of the key factors in adjusting to the changing socio-economic conditions is the
restructuring of our land use regulatory system to [make a distinction] distinguish between
important agricultural land and [marginal] other agricultural land. These distinctions should be
made in the evaluative criteria for considering zone changes, permitted uses, minimum lot size
requirements, and subdivision development standards.

        Rural-style residential-agricultural developments may include either new small-scale
rural communities or extensions of existing rural communities. Such development provides
opportunities for a mix of residential and small-scale agricultural activities. However, the
primary intent of these developments would be to provide an added range to housing
opportunities. Along with this housing, the large lots of these rural areas will provide
opportunities for part-time agriculture, gardening activities and the raising of livestock on a small
scale. By providing opportunities to satisfy the demand for a rural lifestyle on marginal
agricultural land, the pressures to develop [our] important agricultural land for these purposes
would be decreased.

        It should be emphasized that commercial agricultural operations will not be discouraged
from or penalized for utilizing lands considered "marginal." Many commodities including
macadamia nuts, papaya, anthuriums and orchids are now produced on such lands. To protect
these existing agricultural operations from urban encroachment, a buffer area, or uses [which]
that are compatible with agricultural operations should be considered before allowing any type
of rural or urban development into the area.




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        [In summary, diversified agriculture, including macadamia] Macadamia nuts, cattle,
flowers and nursery products, papayas, vegetables and melons and coffee all have the potential
for continued growth. Although the prospects for [diversified] agriculture are encouraging,
there are problems [which] that need to be overcome before the potential can be realized. These
problems include, but are not necessarily limited to: land cost, cost/availability of water,
cost/availability of transportation, cost of labor, marketing, developing and maintaining quality
standards, and disease and pest control.

       Lands for agricultural parks are areas set aside by the State specifically for
agricultural activities to encourage continuation or initiation of such agricultural
operations. The State's Agricultural Parks Program makes land available to small farmers
at reasonable cost with long-term tenure. The State Department of Agriculture currently
operates four agricultural parks on the island, one each in the districts of Puna, South Hilo,
Hamakua and North Kona.

       The following goals and policies are intended to address some of the land related
problems of agriculture and are to be consistent with and supportive of the overall land use
element.

       GOALS

              Identify, protect and maintain important agriculture lands on the island of Hawaii.

              Preserve the agricultural character of the island.

              Preserve and enhance opportunities for the expansion of Hawaii’s
               Agricultural Industry.

       POLICIES

              [Zoning shall protect and maintain important agricultural lands from urban
               encroachment. New] Implement new approaches to preserve important
               agricultural land [shall be implemented by the County].

              [The County shall assist] Assist in the development of basic resources such as
               water, roads, transportation and distribution facilities for the agricultural industry.

              [The County shall assist] Assist other State agencies, such as the University of
               Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture[,] and Human Resources, University of
               Hawaii[,] at Hilo, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources
               Management [(Hilo)], Department of [Planning and] Business, Economic
               Development[,] and Tourism, Office of Planning, Department of Land and
               Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture, on programs [which] that aid
               agriculture.

              Agricultural land [shall] may be used as one form of open space or as green belt.

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   [The County shall coordinate] Coordinate and encourage efforts to solve the
    problems of the agricultural industry in the County of Hawaii.

   [The compatibility of agricultural and non-agricultural uses should be carefully
    reviewed and where appropriate, buffers required.] In order to minimize the
    potential conflicts between agricultural and non-agricultural uses, standards
    and guidelines for the establishment of well defined buffer areas as part of
    new, non-agricultural developments that are located adjacent to important
    agricultural lands shall be developed.

   [Rural style residential agricultural developments, such as new small-scale rural
    communities or extensions of existing rural communities, shall be encouraged in
    appropriate locations.] Land zoned for use in the Rural District shall be
    expanded, where appropriate.

   [The County shall develop] Develop subdivision standards [which] that make a
    distinction between agricultural and urban land uses.

   Designate, protect and maintain important agricultural lands from urban
    encroachment. [New approaches to preserve important agricultural land shall be
    implemented by the County.]

   [The County shall ensure] Ensure that development of important agricultural land
    be primarily for [commercial] agricultural use [purposes].

   Support the development of private and State agricultural parks to make
    agricultural land available for agricultural activities.

   Assist in the development of agriculture.

   Assist in the development of water for agricultural purposes.

   Investigate possibilities to prevent non-agricultural uses that could interfere
    with potential or existing agricultural activities on important agricultural
    lands.

   Support efforts to provide tax relief and other incentives to enhance
    competitive capabilities of commercial farms and ranches, thereby insuring
    long-term preservation, enhancement, and expansion of viable agricultural
    lands.

   Ensure that condominium property regimes (CPR) on agricultural-
    designated lands comply with the requirements of the Zoning Code and other
    applicable laws, rules and regulations.


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                Farm labor housing projects shall be developed in a manner that minimizes
                 the use of important agricultural lands and is consistent with the character of
                 surrounding land uses.

                Encourage, where appropriate, the establishment of visitor-related uses and
                 facilities that directly promote the agriculture industry.

                Important agricultural lands shall not be rezoned to parcels too small to
                 support economically viable farming units.

                Discourage speculative residential development on agricultural lands.

                Encourage other compatible economic uses that complement existing
                 agricultural and pastoral activities.


DISTRICTS

        The analysis that follows concentrates on agricultural land use and focuses on the
relationship of the districts to the County as a whole.


PUNA

Profile

         The major agricultural businesses in Puna [are] include macadamia nuts, flowers,
foliage, papaya, bananas, tropical fruits and [truck farming.] vegetable production. The Puna
district is the major papaya growing region in the State. In the past, the papaya industry has
been faced with challenges from fruit flies and the Papaya Ringspot Virus. Today, the
industry is thriving due to the development of several methods of quarantine treatment and
the development of a genetically engineered disease resistant variety. The papaya industry [,
however, is faced with a major problem which is finding] is continuing its efforts to find an
acceptable alternative to ethylene dibromide (EDB) fumigation to control fruit flies. [Vegetables
and a variety of fruits, primarily oranges and tangerines, are grown throughout the district.]

        There is a fairly sizable planting of macadamia nuts on the Hilo side of Keaau.
Additional plantings [are projected on former sugar lands which became available with the
closing of the Puna Sugar Company in 1984. A pilot project to test the feasibility of coco plants
was started in l986.] may be anticipated as the market dictates. Other future agricultural uses
projected [for the former sugar land] include expansion of papaya, bananas, [alfalfa (for cattle
feed),] cacao and tree farms [(for biomass fuel).], coffee and kava (awa).

          [The State has also made lands available at the Pahoa Agricultural Park.]




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       Vegetables and a variety of fruits are also grown in the Puna District. Some of the
more exotic types of fruits being grown include lychee, rambutan, cherimoya, starfruit,
sapodilla, mangosteen, jackfruit, guava, breadfruit and atemoya.

       Flowers, chiefly anthuriums and orchids, are grown throughout the district. The major
flower cultivation areas are Mt. View, Pahoa, Kapoho and Volcano. Numerous truck farms are
located in the Volcano area. Major crops are lettuce, temperate range flowers [(cymbidiums)]
and cabbage.

        The Puna district also has the potential for agricultural processing and manufacturing
opportunities utilizing the geothermal resources of the area. These direct use applications of the
geothermal resources need to be located within effective proximity of the resource itself and may
require the need for new forms of land use management and control.

       The State has made lands available for agriculture at the 60-lot Pahoa Agricultural
Park, that covers an area of approximately 600 acres. The agricultural park is fully
occupied with no lots available for lease.

        There are [197,900] approximately 198,747 acres zoned for agricultural use in Puna.
[Less than 50,000 acres of this total is being used for agricultural activities. The vast majority of
the agriculturally zoned areas have been subdivided for large lot residential purposes.]

          [Courses] Course of Action

          [    Assist in the provision of water in agricultural areas.]

               Assist in the further development of [diversified] agriculture [in the district].


SOUTH HILO

Profile

        [Sugar is the principal crop grown in South Hilo. The major area of sugar cultivation is
found in the rural areas north of Hilo along the Belt Highway. Hilo Coast Processing Company
(HCPC) and its two sugarcane growing entities, Mauna Kea Agribusiness Company, Inc. and the
United Cane Planters Cooperative, are the chief agricultural enterprises in this area. In an effort
to increase efficiency, C. Brewer and Company, Ltd., the owner of Mauna Kea Agribusiness
Company, Inc., plans to remove 8,000 acres from sugar cultivation and convert most of these
acres to macadamia nuts. Some of the conversion to macadamia nut plantings have already
occurred in the Wainaku to Pepeekeo area. The total acreage in sugarcane in 1985 was
approximately 19,900 acres.] Sugar was once the principal crop grown in South Hilo until
the closing of Hilo Coast Processing Company in 1984. A diversified agricultural industry
has since emerged to make productive use of the former sugar cane lands. The flower,
foliage and nursery industry is the leading diversified agriculture industry in the state. The
South Hilo district is well-known for the cultivation of flowers and nursery products.


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Anthuriums, orchids, and landscaping plants are just some of the many types of foliage
being grown within the district.

        Because of proximity to the marketing area of Hilo, numerous [population-related]
commodities [are raised in South Hilo such as dairying, hog and poultry raising, vegetables, and
other agricultural activities. Hilo is also known for its flower cultivation. Anthuriums,
chrysanthemums, orchids, landscaping plants, and other foliage are grown.] such as vegetables,
ginger root and flowers are grown in South Hilo.

        [Cattle are grazed on the mauka fringe of Hilo city and in the Puu O'o area above the
forest reserve. Eucalyptus trees are also raised in the higher elevations for biomass fuel to
generate electricity.]

       Farms in rural South Hilo are located along major transportation routes [near villages].
Within the city limits, agricultural uses are found in the Panaewa farm lots, upper Kaumana and
Waiakea Uka areas.

       There are [71,280] approximately 73,750 acres of land zoned for agricultural use in
South Hilo[, most with a minimum lot size of 20 acres and above].

          Courses of Action

          [     The County shall provide for agricultural areas within proximity to the city for
                 products consumed locally.

                Necessary capital shall be provided to agricultural areas.]

                [The County shall encourage] Encourage buffer zones or compatible uses
                 between agricultural and urban/residential areas.

                [The County shall support] Support the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii
                 Community College aid in their development of programs [which] that assist
                 agriculture.


NORTH HILO/HAMAKUA

Profile

         Sugar cultivation [dominates] once dominated the agricultural scene in both districts[.]
until the closing of the Hamakua Sugar Company in 1994. The Hamakua Sugar Company
[has] once cultivated approximately 35,000 acres in sugar in the North Hilo and Hamakua
districts. These vacant sugar lands are slowly being cultivated in various crops. A
mainland company has recently initiated plantings of eucalyptus on Kamehameha Schools
land along the Hamakua coast in its effort to establish a 15,000-acre eucalyptus plantation.
A 1981 study to identify the best potential forest lands within the County identified 80,000


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acres, mainly located along the Hamakua coast between the 1,000- and 3,000-foot
elevations.

       Within both districts there are small truck farms [which] that raise vegetables, fruits,
flowers, and macadamia nuts. Taro is also raised within Waipio Valley.

       [Ranching operations are also found on the higher slopes. The Hamakua Sugar Company
has developed a 10,000 head cattle feedlot and a meat processing facility near Paauilo.]
Ranching has now expanded from the upper elevations to the ocean.

       There are [223,174] approximately 227,177 acres zoned for agricultural use in the North
Hilo and Hamakua districts.

          [Courses of Action

                Encourage large landowners in the district to make surplus important agricultural
                 lands available for diversified agriculture.

                Assist in the further development of diversified agriculture in the district.]


          [Courses] Course of Action

                Encourage large landowners [in the district] to make [surplus important]
                 agricultural lands available for [diversified] agriculture.

          [     Assist in the further development of diversified agriculture in the district.]


NORTH KOHALA

Profile

        Ranching, macadamia nut production, and nursery production are the principal
agricultural activities currently operating in North Kohala. [Since the demise of sugar in 1975,
however, agricultural activity within the district has remained low. The majority of the land
formerly in sugar production is now utilized for extensive grazing purposes. No one commodity
or combination of commodities have come close to utilizing the vast agricultural land resources
within the district.] Some [of these] lands in this district are being converted to large lot rural-
residential subdivisions.

        There are [62,593] 67,977 acres of agriculturally zoned lands in the district. Over 14,000
acres [of this total was in sugar production up to 1975. Because much of the basic] within this
district were previously serviced by agricultural infrastructure [, including] .This includes the
Kohala Ditch irrigation system, [still] that remains viable and could provide [, there should be
ample] opportunities to more intensively utilize these lands[.] for agricultural purposes.


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        The agricultural lands of North Kohala also create much of the feeling of open space
that is so important to the area. A number of legislative resolutions have supported the
protection of viewplanes and open space from the main highway to the sea, most recently
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 146.

          Courses of Action

          [     Assist in the further development of diversified agriculture in the district.]

                Encourage the maintenance [of] and [the] more intensive utilization of the Kohala
                 Ditch irrigation system for agricultural production.

                Support the development of private and State agricultural parks as a means of
                 making agricultural land available for commercial agricultural activities.

                In reviewing Special Permit applications, rezonings, and other land use
                 changes in the Agricultural District, great care should be given to preserve
                 existing viewplanes to and along the coastline.


SOUTH KOHALA

Profile

       South Kohala's Waimea region contains the most extensive truck farming area in the
County. Vegetables such as celery, daikon (turnip), carrots, lettuce, cabbage, [and] broccoli,
tomatoes and bell peppers, and fruits such as strawberries are grown for both local and
export markets. Certain flowers and foliage are also grown in this region.

        Most of the lands in South Kohala are used for cattle ranching. Parker Ranch is the
largest ranch in the area and owns most of the grazing lands.

         [Of the 101,541] There are approximately 119,813 acres zoned for agriculture in the
district [, over half are vacant]. Although land in the Waimea area is considered some of the
most productive in the County, there is a need to develop a more reliable agricultural water
system to more fully utilize this potential. With the [recent] growth in the district spurred
[primarily] by tourism, urban pressures are increasingly competing for basic resources required
by agriculture, namely land, labor, and water.

          Courses of Action

                [Through zoning the County shall protect] Protect important agricultural lands
                 from urban encroachment.

          [     Assist in the provision of water in agricultural areas.]



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                [The County shall encourage] Encourage buffer zones or compatible uses
                 between important agricultural land and adjacent uses of land.


NORTH AND SOUTH KONA

Profile

       Coffee, macadamia nut, avocado and ranching are the major agricultural endeavors in
Kona. Other commodities grown in Kona include [bananas, papayas, oranges, tangerines,]
tropical fruits, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, flowers, foliage and nursery plants.

        There are 280,937 acres of land within the State Land Use Agricultural designation in
this district. [Of these 160,409 are agriculturally zoned and an additional 120,145 acres are
zoned Unplanned by the County.] Approximately 279,466 acres are zoned for agricultural
uses by the County.

        Although the climate of Kona is favorable for agriculture, soils and topography present
some limitations, especially for mechanized farming. This has been one of the problems faced
by the coffee industry.

         Another factor [which inhibits] inhibiting agricultural activity in the district is the price
of land. There is a substantial disparity between the agricultural use value and market value of
land in Kona. In addition, the land ownership pattern in agriculturally suitable areas, is
characterized by a few large land holders, and requires favorable lease arrangements [which]
that are not always available. The same urbanization pressures faced in the South Kohala
district are also present in Kona.

      Keahole Agricultural Park, located mauka of Kona International Airport at
Keahole, is comprised of 179 acres subdivided into 34 lots. Few lots are available for lease.

          [Courses of Action

                The County shall protect important agricultural lands within the Kona Coffee
                 Belt.

                The University of Hawaii at Hilo shall be encouraged to accelerate research on
                 agricultural products which are or could be of economic value to Kona.

                Assist in the provision of water in agricultural areas.

                The County shall encourage buffer zones or compatible uses between important
                 agricultural land and adjacent uses of land.]




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          Courses of Action

                [The County shall protect] Protect important agricultural lands within the Kona
                 Coffee Belt[.] from urban encroachment through the use of zoning and other
                 mechanisms.

                [The University of Hawaii at Hilo shall be encouraged] Encourage the
                 University of Hawaii at Hilo to accelerate research on agricultural, aquaculture
                 and forestry products [which] that are or could be of economic value to Kona.

          [     Assist in the provision of water in agricultural areas.]

                [The County shall encourage] Encourage buffer zones or compatible uses
                 between important agricultural land and adjacent uses of land.


KA'U

Profile

        [Sugar and macadamia nuts are the major crops grown in the Ka'u district. There are
approximately 16,000 acres planted in sugar and approximately 5,000 acres planted in
macadamia nuts.] Macadamia nuts are the major crop grown within the Ka’u District.
Sugar, which once dominated the agricultural industry within the district, saw its end with
the closing of the Ka’u Sugar Company in 1996.

        Other crops, such as bananas, avocados, tomatoes, and carnations are cultivated on a
limited scale. Other production includes vegetables, coffee, and hardwoods. Ranching
operations are also found throughout the district. [In addition, eucalyptus trees are also raised for
biomass fuel to generate electricity.] A private initiative has been undertaken to plant
approximately 5,000 acres of eucalyptus trees.

         There are [252,647] approximately 252,843 acres of agriculturally zoned land in the
district. Over 70[%] per cent of this total area is not being utilized for agricultural purposes.
The lack of an adequate water supply is one of the major limitations to further agricultural
development in the district.

          [Courses] Course of Action

          [     Assist in the provision of water in agricultural areas.]

                Encourage and support the expansion of [diversified] agriculture, including
                 forestry and the macadamia nut industry [in the district].




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